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Coral bleaching happens when corals lose their vibrant colors and turn white. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Coral are bright and colorful because of microscopic algae called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae live within the coral in a mutually beneficial relationship, each helping the other survive. But when the ocean environment changes—if it gets too hot, for instance—the coral stresses out and expels the algae. As the algae leaves, the coral fades until it looks like it’s been bleached. If the temperature stays high, the coral won’t let the algae back, and the coral will die.
What triggers coral bleaching?
The leading cause of coral bleaching is temperature change. Warming changes in water temperature—as little as 2 degrees Fahrenheit—can cause coral to drive out algae. Coral may bleach for other reasons, like extremely low tides, pollution, or too much sunlight.
Why does coral bleaching matter?
Coral bleaching matters because once these corals die, reefs rarely come back. With few corals surviving, they struggle to reproduce, and entire reef ecosystems, on which people and wildlife depend, deteriorate.
Bleaching also matters because it’s not an isolated phenomenon. Between 2014 and 2020 around 75% of the world’s tropical coral reefs experienced heat-stress severe enough to trigger bleaching. For 30% of the world’s reefs, that heat-stress was enough to kill coral.
Thanks to your support and the use of BioRock® technology, planting new coral reefs combats coral bleaching. Corals growing on Biorock® reefs that survived severe 2016 bleaching, and bleached again completely in 2020, have now fully recovered.
Grown with the science of BioRocks® mineral accretion, these stony corals grown up to 6x faster, 20x healthier and 50x stronger than natural coral reefs!
Help fund these projects when you shop our collection of hand-carved jewelry!